Lowest rainfall recorded in 65 years

Veena Kumari shows a near by well dried up at Barotu Rakiraki. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

LAST month was one of the driest in the history of Fiji with some places recording the lowest rainfall ever in 65 years.

The Fiji Climate Summary for August released by the Fiji Meteorological Service on Monday revealed that 24 out of the 25 climate monitoring stations across the country recorded “well below average” rainfall.

In Nabouwalu, the new record low was three millimetres compared with the 5.3mm that was recorded in 1953. The other four stations recording new lows were Laucala Bay, Tokotoko, Vanuabalavu and Monasavu, where our biggest hydro dam is located.

The lowest rainfall recorded for Monasavu was in 1996 at 84.4mm, but last month’s dry spell recorded a new low of 21.1mm of rainfall.

Laucala Bay had a lowest rainfall record of 20.2mm in 1996, but recorded 13.2mm last month.

In Vanuabalavu, the last time there was such a dry spell was in 1987 with 5mm of rainfall.

Last month, the island recorded 4.4mm of rainfall. Tokotoko recorded 47.6mm as opposed to 69.2mm in 1996.

Majority of the climate monitoring stations in the Western, Northern divisions and in the Northern Lau Group recorded less than 10mm of rain when they normally should receive between 50mm to 125mm of rain.

Our weather experts say the dry spell has continued from mid June with Rarawai mill to Yaqara corridor registering more than 77 days of dry days until the end of August. Labasa Airport had 57 consecutive dry days while Lautoka mill had 37 days of no rain.

Some places such as Yasawa-i-rara, Viwa, Momi, Nadi International Airport, Rakiraki, Keiyasi, Nadarivatu and Seaqaqa had no rain for 28 to 69 days.

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